Kaleida are the stewards of our feminist future. Politically active and environmentally aware, Tear The Roots is an attempt to map these concerns out of the abstract and into musical form.
The debut album from the Anglo-German duo Ciceley Goulder and Christina Wood is stylishly minimalist. In it they have externalised their, and our, hopes and fears for the apocalypse. Ironically, by doing so, they have produced a very internal album indeed. The tracks are divided between those that are genuinely impressive pieces of electro-pop and others that are evocative mood pieces with indecipherable lyrics.
The latest release, ‘Meter’, is an uber-chic dance track. Woods sings ‘I got to find my heart, keep the meter running for you’ as if her very existence depended on it. Her shouts, echoing into the darkness could be of pain, a cry for help or just the yearning for freedom. The electronic backing is by turn industrial, desperate and sensual.
That these are difficult times is felt everywhere on Tear The Roots. The first single from the album, ‘Echo Saw You’ is like running through midnight black alleys where white witches perform protective magic with doves. We run with the heartbeat drumbeat, are soothed by Woods, ‘Give me your heart, give me your hand…we keep a light on.’
Kaleida strip away all the Europop from Nena’s ’99 Luftballons’, reducing it to the starkness of its anti-war message. The funereal keyboards and emotive vocals remind us that pop can be political and beautiful at the same time. It features on the soundtrack to the film ‘Atomic Blonde’, an action spy thriller starring Charlize Theron and is fully deserving of a wider audience.
What sets this album apart from other electro releases is the sheer craftwork. There is something decidedly composerly and skilful in the writing and production of these tracks. At no point does Tear The Roots repeat itself, an all too common feature of albums using minimal instrumentation. Therefore tracks such as ‘Convolution’ appear experimental, using samples of the voice as another instrument in plosive bursts, distilling the message to pure musical form. Whilst there are other places where the album sounds like it is capturing a futuristic church choir or wedding music.
There is something to say about every single track on this album. I’ll reserve the final words for ‘Division’ and the title track itself. On an LP that is both style and substance throughout, ‘Division’ super-slick. It evokes the shudder and vibration of the tunnels under the city, water dripping into the blackness. It is uplifted with orchestral support and the use of tense pauses, similar techniques to those used on the closing title track. Here the violins creak like the weakened wood in a decaying house.
Whether we choose to go with the status quo or make change for ourselves in this life, Kaleida show us that the effects will be mighty.
Tear The Roots seeks to rebuild the social order.
Tear The Roots will be released on 15th September 2017 through Lex Records.